PALMETTO -- As part of the nation's 2013 National Arbor Day observance, a 12-foot live oak tree was planted Friday at Hidden Lake Park at 1720 12th St. W., Palmetto.
Although now a baby, this sturdy tree can grow to 60 feet tall and offer a canopy 60 feet wide, said Geoffrey Seger,Palmetto's Parks and Rec-reation Director.
About 20 people came to the planting, said to be the largest Arbor Day crowd ever in Palmetto. Speakers included Ingrid McClellan of Keep Manatee Beautiful, under whose guidance, Manatee County municipalities have one after another earned the national designation, "Tree City USA."
"Listen," McClellan said,
turning her head toward the Palmetto sky surrounding Hidden Lake Park.
"Do you hear the birds chirp? That's because they have trees. Trees do so much for us, including improve property values and quality of life."
"Don't forget clean the air and curtail erosion," said Ed Flowers, with the Florida Forest Service.
Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant envisioned a day when her first grandchild, 3-week-old Emma Bryant, will enjoy this baby live oak.
"I think we have an obligation to provide these urban forests for our future generations," Bryant said.
Dieter Zoellner of Keep Manatee Beautiful presented Yoshira Castro, librarian at the Palmetto BranchLibrary, with a stack oftree-related books and videos, including Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax," and several DVDs of "The Lorax" movie.
Hidden Lake Park is known for its walking and running sidewalk that goes to Snead Island.
"A lot of people use this park," Bryant said.
National Arbor Day was also observed in other cities and towns in Manatee County.
In Bradenton, five Muskogee crape myrtles were planted in the area of Manatee Avenue East and Ninth Street.
The City of Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee planted a Southern red cedar donated by Keep Manatee Beautiful at the trolley stop and canal on 77th Street at the intersection of Marina Drive.
The City of Anna Maria joined with Manatee County Parks and Recreation to plant two green buttonwoods also donated by Keep Manatee Beautiful.
The buttonwoods were planted at Bayfront Park on Bay Boulevard near the public restrooms.
Earlier in April, a Southern red cedar was planted at Emerson Point Conservation Preserve by the Manatee County Natural Resources Department, Environmental Lands Management and Acquisition Advisory Committee/Tree Board, according to a National Arbor Day news release.
The first Arbor Day was celebrated April 10, 1872, in Nebraska City, Neb., led by Julius Sterling Morton, President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture.
More than one million trees were planted in Nebraska during the first Arbor Day, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.